Biden decision to admit more refugees as ‘lifeline’ welcomed by UN
GENEVA (SWITZERLAND) -The UN refugee agency on Tuesday welcomed a decision by US President Joe Biden to admit up to 62,500 refugees this year. It said that it hoped this would help other countries derive inspiration to resettle more people fleeing war or persecution.
Biden said on Monday he had resurrected a plan to raise refugee admissions this year to 62,500 after drawing a wave of criticism from supporters for initially keeping the refugee cap at a historically low level of 15,000, set by his predecessor Donald Trump, an immigration hawk.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, praised Biden’s decision as “a move to restore the US leadership on refugee resettlement” that would also save lives.
It came as global resettlement of refugees has plummeted to unprecedented levels after states imposed low quotas and departures and processing were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grandi said.
Barely 1.6% of 1.44 million people with refugee status who were prioritised for resettlement in another country of asylum last year found new homelands through the UNHCR, or 22,770 – the lowest number in nearly two decades.
“The US commitments to increase admissions for this year and the next are therefore a lifeline for refugees and for our global resettlement programme,” Grandi said.